Friday, October 3, 2008

It's never too early to solicit ideas for Oracle OpenWorld 2009

OK, I have now officially posted my first Oracle OpenWorld 2009 post - and the conference won't start until...well, until late 2009. (October 11-15, according to the OpenWorld 2008 site.)

Not that I was the first one to start asking about Oracle OpenWorld 2009. Somewhere around Tuesday or Wednesday during Oracle OpenWorld 2008, Marius Ciortea and others began talking about holding a brainstorming session during the Unconference. This was scheduled for Thursday morning - as I noted, I attended the session. (And you thought I just played some games.)

The gist of the meeting was captured in the Oracle Wiki (see the URL). Let me highlight a couple of items in which I have a rabid personal interest:

  • In essence, the Conference and the Unconference were entirely separate. While barcamp purists might argue that this is a good thing, many in the Thursday session thought that people were missing out because of the relative invisibility of the Unconference. Yes, I know the Unconference was publicized throughout Oracle material, and I know that the schedule itself was visible in a couple of ways, but it often took a couple of extra mouse clicks to get to the Unconference material - and that, in the view of many of us, is a couple of extra mouse clicks too many. In my view (and I think some shared this view), integration of the Unconference into the Schedule Builder, as well as use of similar session times (Unconference 9:00, 10:00, and 11:00 start times didn't coincide with Conference session start times - a complaint that was also raised last year), will make it easier for people to participate in the Unconference and enjoy the content.

  • In a similar fashion, there are a number of different silos for official Oracle OpenWorld information. You have the Schedule Builder, you have Mix, you have the wiki, you have the OpenWorld blogs, and you probably have some other official sources that I just plain don't know about. I'm not sure if anything can be done about this - each of these sources have different purposes - but perhaps someone has some ideas for better integration.

  • At one point we got into an interesting discussion about what the cool kids do. One idea that was floated was the idea of being able to see what sessions other people are attending - the idea being that crowd suggestions might help people find valuable content. But one concern, as recorded in the wiki, was that "people go where the big names go... trendsetters." Personally, this doesn't concern me; I'm not going to attend a session only because I see that Tom Kyte or Eddie Awad or whoever is attending it. (Heck, even Dan Norris' presence wouldn't necessarily sway me to attend a session.)

  • Due to time pressures, I didn't really get a chance to venture my opinion on one item - namely, the suggestion that the keynotes got too technical. For those who don't know, I am not a technical person, and when Charles Phillips and Chuck Rozwat got into some technical discussions during the keynote, some of it went completely over my head. Yet this didn't bother me, because I recognize that a lot of people at Oracle OpenWorld are technically oriented, and I don't want the keynote speakers to have to dumb down just so I can keep up.
Well, this was a good session, and 20 people attended. This means, however, that approximately 42,980 people didn't attend this session.

So I've launched an "idea" thread on Oracle Mix to capture additional suggestions for Oracle OpenWorld 2009:

(Note that you have to be an Oracle Mix member to participate in the discussion.)

Presumably other people have started, or will be starting, similar efforts. (In fact, if you want to start similar things in Mix, just be sure to use the "openworld09" tag.) While Oracle OpenWorld 2009 is over a year away, this is a good time to capture ideas, while Oracle OpenWorld 2008 is fresh in our minds.

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